Lady To Queen - Chapter 17
It was never a refreshing feeling to listen to a smiling person spout blasphemies. It was just dirty. One of Patrizia’s eyebrows lifted at the impunity.
Rosemond smirked. “Oops, I called you by your first name. You don’t mind? I’m not going to tell anyone what happened here anyway.”
“Ha! Your impudence is so great that I could learn from it. I wanted to live a quiet life. Unless you touch me first, I won’t touch you. I can promise that. However…” Patrizia glared murderously at Rosemond. She was not in a forgiving mood, and Rosemond’s plot to destroy relations with the envoys greatly upset her. “Because you touched me first, you leave me with no choice. However. This is the last time I will ever forgive a mistake of yours. Let’s keep this quiet. If this happens again, who knows what I’ll do.”
“I’m so scared,” Rosemond said mockingly.
This really is a woman who ruins the best of people, Patrizia thought to herself.
“While nothing would please me more than to expose today’s events to the whole world to bury you, it would cause a messy situation. So I will let you go just this once, Rosemond. There will be no mercy the second time.”
It would be easy to reveal Rosemond’s misdeeds to the entire world. No matter how favored the concubine was, she didn’t have the power to absolve herself from that accusation. However, that would only solve the internal problems; there was still potential for external ones. The most desirable outcome was that nothing would happen, of course, but it was possible the Christa Empire could take offense and use it to their advantage. With a little plausible justification, one could always leverage unreasonable power. The Christa Empire was not a small country, but a large one whose strength was comparable with the Mavinous Empire. Patrizia could not fathom what kind of fire would be paid back. So, to her chagrin, she couldn’t act as she pleased, and had to force this issue to remain an internal matter.
“Ah, ah, be considerate, Your Majesty. You’re so scary I may end up wetting myself.”
“Quit that prattling attitude. I may fly into a fit of rage and grab you by the hair.”
“Ah, ah, be considerate of that too.”
Rosemond did not abandon her rudeness, and she stared at Patrizia with a proud look. Patrizia did not allow herself to be intimidated and refused to look away.
“I’m curious where your confidence comes from,” Patrizia said with a dry chuckle. “Do you think I won’t speak to anyone?”
“Of course not, Your Majesty. You don’t have the guts to do that,” Rosemond drawled. She was confident for several reasons. Firstly, the beef wasn’t switched out with pork as planned. Secondly, there was no real evidence, only that Patrizia knew that Rosemond and Glara were involved. This incident could completely be resolved if Rosemond and Glara confessed, but someone as loyal as Glara wouldn’t open her mouth even if she were tortured. Thirdly, above all else, there was risk that the story would spread to the members of the Christa envoy. If that happened, the diplomatic disaster that Patrizia so worried about could break out. Patrizia understood this better than anyone else, but she decided to press harder on Rosemond.
“If you have sinned, then confess, and if not, then you don’t have to. But in this case, it’s the former, so there’s no reason why you have to be so difficult.”
“Did you not make a promise to His Majesty? You said you wouldn’t touch me.”
“That’s when you didn’t provoke me first. I didn’t promise to be stupid.”
“There is no example of a concubine dominating an empire, but there have been instances where a concubine had an emperor dance in her palm. Your Majesty, don’t you think this is the same?”
Patrizia was speechless in face of Rosemond’s smug face. She couldn’t believe the audacity from her. “You’re confident, Rose. I hate that about you.” A smile twisted on Patrizia’s face, and she leaned in and whispered in the concubine’s ear. “Thank you for the gift anyway, Rosemond. I made a promise. This will be the last time I show mercy.”
Rosemond gave a charming smile that did not match the venom in her eyes. “Can I hold you to that, Your Majesty?” she said sweetly.
Rosemond truly was a madwoman. Patrizia felt her throat clench at the crazy behavior on display before her. She anticipated this, but it wasn’t easy to deal once faced with it. At least for now, she had the upper hand, and she couldn’t allow herself to look weak.
Meanwhile, Rosemond sneered inwardly at Patrizia. If the queen wanted peace, then she should just give up the throne and disappear. Rosemond would never relent until she became queen, even if it was a matter of survival for Patrizia too. She would make sure that by the end of it she would sit on that throne.
Patrizia looked at her surroundings. “Ah, I’ve been out too long. I must go now. The ladies will be waiting.” Patrizia lifted the corners of her mouth in a slight smile and softened her demeanor. “Stop being angry, and come inside now. If we don’t eat the beef steak now, it will get cold.”
It might already be cold. Patrizia walked past Rosemond, smiling the whole time. As soon as she disappeared from sight, Rosemond let out a scream.
“Aaahhh!” Her anger boiled over and she stamped her feet as if she couldn’t control herself. “Damn it, how dare she!” Patrizia did not even treat Rosemond as low a prostitute, but as an impudent child she had to school. Rosemond could not bear the fact that she had been played by that young queen. Her cheeks were so red from abuse that she bit her lip in pain.
Glara, who had been watching the scene the entire time with a pale face, finally spoke in a worried voice. “You’re badly hurt, My Lady. You should return to Bain Palace.”
A sharp strike to Glara’s face was Rosemond’s reply. Glara stumbled and carefully wrapped her cheek in her palm. “I’m sorry, My Lady. It’s all my fault.”
“Because of you…” Rosemond growled. She could not believe that the new queen made an effective counterassault against her, Rosemond, someone who already was an experienced veteran of palatial machinations.
“She’ll show me mercy this time, but next time she’ll fight? Ha! I look forward to it. How strong can she be growing up as sheltered as a plant in a greenhouse?”
Rosemond returned to Bain Palace without suppressing her cold fury. She couldn’t laugh and chat in front of the ladies in this mood. Most of all, she couldn’t go back after being caught. She marched back to her room, racking her mind on how to get revenge on Patrizia.
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Meanwhile, Lucio was busy welcoming and entertaining the envoys. He occasionally worried if Patrizia was performing well—after all, the fortunes of the empire depended on it. He comforted himself with the fact that Duchess Ephreney would not be so careless with the queen’s education.
When the banquet was over and the delegates returned to their respective guest rooms, Lucio went back to his own room in the central palace and took a bath. Afterwards, he went straight to Rosemond’s room, then came across a sight he never expected.
“What’s going on?” he said in a stiff voice. Rosemond ran towards him, her cheek red and streaked with tears, and answered him immediately as if she had been waiting for him.
“Heug, Your Majesty…”
“I asked you what’s going on. Who hit you?”
“Heug…” As Rosemond continued to cry without answering, Lucio grew frustrated.
“Tell me, Rose. Who did this to you? Was it the Queen?” he pressed.
She wordlessly nodded her head. A great anger rose up in Lucio, overcoming his previous exhaustion. He could tolerate many things, but not the Queen touching Rosemond.
“Why did the Queen hit you?” he asked, holding back his boiling anger as much as he could. “Was there a reason?”
Rosemond didn’t say anything. No matter what excuse she gave, Lucio wouldn’t forgive her for it, and it was better to remain silent. However, that only further served to grow Lucio’s frustration, while Rosemond kept her mouth firmly sealed.
“You don’t want me to go to the Queen and ask, do you, Rose? Go on and say it.”
“I…I can’t say.” Rose one acted as if she had been subjected to some serious injustice. She looked down as if she were an innocent child, and Lucio switched methods and affectionately tried to coax the truth out of her.
“Tell me, Rose. Do you think I’ll do what the Queen has done to you?”
“I can’t say…” If she told him what happened, then she would end up revealing that everything was her fault. She turned her eyes away from her lover.
Lucio was left with only one option. He pulled away from her, and she looked up at him with a confused look.
“If you don’t tell me, then I have no choice.”
“Your cheek wound is deep. Glara, take good care of your master.”
“Yes, Your Majesty. Don’t worry,” Glara quietly replied with a bow.
Lucio gave one last look at Rosemond’s cheek and then left the room. When he was finally gone, Rosemond let out a sigh she didn’t realize she had been holding.